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Abstract

La Haine, (Dir. Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995) and La Désintégration (Dir. Philippe Faucon, 2011), set in France’s urban periphery, depict the struggle of second and third-generation immigrants growing up in the housing projects and their desire to live like ‘other’ French young people. The analysis offers a comparative study of the films’ reception with a community of viewers made of American students in a Contemporary French Culture course. Following the three paradigms of exclusion (social, racial, and cultural); gender representation; and aestheticism and realism, this study demonstrates that, within certain limits, these cinematic propositions, of similar prophetic nature but different visual and narrative qualities, can be useful pedagogical tools to enhance students’ intercultural competency through a better understanding of France’s challenge with violence and terrorism linked to a complex social, religious, and racial diversity.